The BC Energy Step Code is the Province’s new building energy code, involving a series of “Steps” representing improving energy performance levels. It measures the performance of different parts of the building, such as its airtightness level, envelope thermal performance, and mechanical equipment efficiency. The BC Energy Step Code will improve home comfort and air quality while reducing energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions from new buildings in Abbotsford.
Phase 1 – September 1, 2019
Starting September 1, 2019, builders and designers should submit building permits that meet Step 1 of the Energy Step Code for Part 9 new residential buildings.
Submissions that meet Step 1 of the Energy Step Code for Part 9 will follow a faster building permit review stream. Depending on the volume of applications, applicants may see a shorter wait time of up to 2 weeks. View current Permit Wait Times.
For Part 3 commercial buildings, Step 1 requirements will start for Development Permits (DP) made on or after September 1, 2019. This is to accommodate the energy model to meet Step 1, and for any impacts the modeling makes on the form and character of the building. Incentives will be offered for submissions meeting Step 3 or higher.
The City is relying on the Registered Professionals (RPs) who are submitting the Letters of Assurance (LOAs) for compliance to Step 1 for Part 3 buildings after September 1, 2019. Applications must have the Energy Model completed by a Registered Professional and the City will be requesting a copy of the Provincial Part 3 Compliance Form for Energy Step Code as part of the permit intake.
Phase 2 - October 1, 2020
The Step Code implementation date for new Part 9 buildings, including single family dwellings, was postponed due to Covid-19. The new Step Code implementation date is Oct. 1, 2020.
Meeting Step 1 of the Energy Step Code for Houses
The Energy Step Code Step 1 involves the following:
- Engaging a Certified Energy Advisor (CEA) early in the design so that the CEA can perform an energy assessment using one of the approved softwares, most likely “Hot2000”;
- Submission of the Provincial Part 9 Compliance Form as part of the permit intake package;
- Performing a mid-construction blower door test for airtightness, unless air-tight drywall is used;
- Performing a post construction blower door test to get an air-exchange rate reading of the airtightness of the building; the air-exchange rate is fed back into the energy model program to confirm compliance and to obtain an Energuide rating;
- Submit the Energuide rating to NRCan.
Airtightness testing at building completion is a key part of Step Code performance requirements. The Province requires all Step Code buildings to conduct a final airtightness test to receive an occupancy permit. At Step 1, airtightness must be good enough for overall building energy performance to equal the BC Building Code reference building. View the Provincial Bulletins B19-02 and B19-03 on airtightness.
Airtightness is the most cost-effective way to improve building energy performance, and an airtight building is easiest and least costly to achieve prior to drywall installation. The City of Abbotsford is strongly encouraging all Part 9 buildings to conduct a mid-construction blower door test before a building can proceed to insulation inspection.
As this is intended to be a capacity building requirement, the City is currently determining how the requirement may be waived for applicants that can demonstrate success constructing multiple airtight buildings, and the City will update the bulletins when this is determined.
Your Certified Energy Advisor will help with these tests and will suggest ways you can improve your building’s energy performance. The City encourages building teams to involve as many staff and trades as possible during the first few mid-construction blower door tests.
- Part 9 Compliance Forms/Reports
- Part 3 Compliance Forms/Reports - Currently under development by the Province.
Guides & Resources
- BC Energy Code Incentives
- BC Energy Step Code Builder Guide
- BC Energy Step Code Design Guide
- BC Energy Step Code Resources for Homeowners
- BC Energy Step Code Resources for Industry
- BC Energy Step Code Website
- Certified Energy Advisors
- Fortis BC New Home Program Incentives
Visit the BC Energy Step Code website for more information on each of the Step Code requirements.
Rebates and Incentives
Local builder, architect/designer or homeowner who’s looking to build a new home or renovating one are encouraged to take advantage of the current rebates and incentives offered. Upcoming rebates or incentives will be updated here as they become available.
The City is offering a $500 rebate for the first 40 Part 9 step code applications (single family dwellings) that follow the step code through to occupancy.
New Part 9 constructions following Step Code are eligible for $1000 up to $10,000 rebate through FortisBC’s New Home Program.
For a limited time, select Clean BC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program rebates are doubled to support the restart of B.C.’s economy and help homeowner’s save energy. Registration is required by December 31, 2020 to apply for double rebates.
Homeowners are eligible for double rebates of up to $2400 for improvements which result in space heating efficiency and reduction in natural gas consumption.
Rebates of up to $8000 are available from CleanBC for switching primary heating from natural gas, propane or oil heating to electricity. Visit the CleanBC website for more information.
Webinar Series: Building for the Future
By 2032, all new buildings will need to be net zero ready. What does this mean for the BC construction industry? Find out in this 5-part series, designed for builders, designers, architects, and building officials. Participants will get an overview of how the Step Code will shape the buildings of tomorrow through the insight of BCIT professionals and industry experts.
Workshop 1: An Overview
April 28, 9:00am - 10:30am
The BC Energy Step Code is here. By 2022, we will all need to build to Step 3 (part 9 buildings). By 2027, the bar will be raised to Step 4. By 2032, all new buildings will need to be net zero ready (Step 5). What does it mean for the BC construction industry? In this first webinar of a 5-part series, the participants will get an overview of the buildings of tomorrow. What does the below and above grade assemblies of a “Step Code building” look like? What will the mechanical systems consist of? Who are the experts that will be working on the projects? Join us for this 1.5-hour webinar to get answers to these questions, and ask your own questions to BCIT experts.
Workshop 2: ZEB Building Science ABC
May 26, 9:00am - 10:30am
Building Science is about understanding the movement of air, heat and moisture in buildings. Under the BC Energy Step Code, walls are getting thicker and the envelope is getting more airtight. This will obviously result in a better control of air and heat in and around walls. But what about moisture? Will thick and airtight walls be moldy and unhealthy? In this second webinar of a 5-part series, BCIT’s expert will review principles of Building Science guiding the management of moisture in buildings. The webinar will include examples of smart vapor barriers, a demo of a free dew point location calculator, and a discussion of 4 different wall assemblies designed to successfully deal with air, heat and moisture in BC’s climate.
Workshop 3: Airtightness
June 23, 9:00am - 10:30am
Achieving low levels of airtightness is a centrepiece of the BC Energy Step Code. This third webinar of a 5-part series will answer the most asked questions on airtightness. These are: What is an air barrier? What’s the difference between an air barrier and a vapour barrier? What type of materials are needed to make buildings very airtight. Who should be in charge of airtightness on a construction site? What are the easiest assembly details available to achieve a low ACH? How do I know if I have achieved my desired airtightness level?
Workshop 4: Assembly Details
July 21, 9:00am - 10:30am
This is the fourth webinar of a 5-part series. Highly energy-efficient buildings have super insulated assemblies, including walls, roof, foundations, etc. The additional insulation can be added from the inside of the building, the outside, or both. Which approach should I use? What’s the impact of extra insulation around windows, on vapour drives, at a wall-to-roof transition, near electrical and mechanical penetrations, etc.? What insulation materials
are air permeable? Which one are water vapour closed? Which materials are more suited for my project? Is embodied carbon significant enough to be considered at the design stage? Participants in this webinar will get answers to these insulation-related questions, and will get to ask their own questions to BCIT subject matter experts.
Workshop 5: Mechanicals
August 18, 9:00am - 10:30am
This is the last webinar of a 5-part series. Previously, participants learned about the ins and outs of super energy-efficient buildings envelope. The webinar series tackled the envelope first, the same way the BC energy Step Code does. We are now ready for a dive in the world of energy efficient ventilation, heating and cooling systems. In this webinar, participants will get a review of the BC Energy Step Code mechanical system metric. Participants will also get to review and discuss 3 BC-based case studies showing how different systems can be used to achieve your Step Code goals.